I spent the majority of my time at University milling around, slightly unsure of what it was I actually wanted out of my degree. I knew that I wanted to write and yet somehow expected opportunities to do so to just land in my lap. When you’re doing a degree like English and German, everyone seems to expect you to be either a teacher or a translator. Even if I had seriously entertained either of those career choices, reverse psychology would certainly have kicked in. If people tell you that you must want to go into a certain career because of your degree, then unless you’re doing one where it’s very specific what kind of career you want out of it, then you’re naturally going to feel averse to that particular avenue. Fortunately, I’ve shaped myself up and thrown myself headfirst into pursuing a career in journalism.
The end of last month was the deadline for application to the Postgraduate Diploma at Cardiff University. It’s one of the most prestigious journalist courses in the country; I recall back in sixth form a teacher telling me this, and it’s still true today. Cardiff’s School of Journalism has been described as ‘the Oxbridge of journalism’. Naturally, as an Oxbridge reject, hearing this hasn’t settled my nerves one bit.
Since I sent off my application, I’ve been particularly concerned about one section. At the end of the form, there was a part which asked you to fill in details of any other journalism courses you had applied for. The thing is… I haven’t applied for any others. It seems like a bit of a bad move for someone who so desperately wants to be a journalist; surely I’d want to apply left, right and centre to ensure I got onto a course somewhere?
Unfortunately, as the case may be for many wannabe postgraduates, money is a key issue, and I can’t really afford many of the courses out there. We’re talking London, Falmouth, Brunel… without a student loan, I certainly won’t be able to afford to live outside of Wales without a part time job to keep me going. I’m lucky enough to have an extremely prestigious course right on my doorstep; potentially, I can live at my parents’ place if I can’t afford to live in Cardiff itself. This is sheer luck really, and I’m not sure what I would do if I lived elsewhere in the country.
However, there’s a part of me that thinks I probably would have applied to Cardiff even if I did live elsewhere in the country. The fact of the matter is… it’s the only place I want to study journalism. Cardiff is my city, and it’s a city full of opportunities for wannabe hacks, as it’s not only home to Media Wales, but is also one of the cities chosen for The Guardian’s online local project (which is run by a graduate of Cardiff). As for the course itself, after endlessly quizzing people I know who are either currently on the course or have recently graduated, I know I would love it.
So why wouldn’t I just apply for Cardiff? I know exactly what I want, and I intend to do everything I can to get it. Just as well I’ve been offered an interview in April then eh? One step closer!